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March 10, 2010

My grandmother’s greatest gift was tolerance…

Now in the old days,

Indians used to be forgiving of any kind of eccentricity…

In fact weird people were often celebrated…

Epileptics were often shamans because people just assumed that God gave seizure-visions,

to the lucky ones…

Gay people were seen as magical too…

I mean,

like in many cultures, men were viewed as warriors and women were viewed as caregivers…

But gay people,

being both male and female,

were seen as both warriors and caregivers…

Gay people could do anything…

They were like Swiss Army knives…

— Arnold Spirit in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

People ask me if the things that I write about really happen…

I tell them that I’m just making shit up…

But they don’t believe me…

I’ve finally accepted that I have no control over what other people think,

or believe…

They’re driving their own ships…

My two closest friends,

from when I was growing up,

came out when we were in our early twenties…

Prior to that,

despite a lot of sleepovers and camping trips,

I never suspected a thing…

Other people,

like my parents,

would make penetrating comments like,

I always knew s/he was THAT way…

I always wondered WHAT way they were referring to,

and how it was that they could be so sure…

My very best friend,

whom I met in Kindergarten,

showed up at my house,

all in love one day…

In love with a woman…

When she told me I said,

That’s great…

I’m happy that you have finally met someone,

who makes your heart skip a beat…

That lipstick and those high laced boots look great on on you…

Now what kind of sandwich can I make you for lunch???

As I watched my friend’s gay relationship develop,

alongside the straight relationship that I was in,

I saw that the issues are all the same…

Issues of power and control don’t care about the gender of the players,

they just want to be in the game,

come hell or high water…

I had two daughters and so did she…

She just had to go about the project in a different way…

Her partner tried,

month after month,

for years,

to conceive with the same donor,

and for some reason or another,

things just didn’t take…

I remember overhearing my mother say to the partner,

at Starshine’s fifth birthday party,

a party that my mother crashed because she wasn’t invited,

Oh well,

I guess you’ll just have to be the man in the relationship…

I always wondered why I didn’t get the mother who was hit by a blueberry truck,

on her way home from the Mylora driving range,

after an afternoon with the Sunshine Ladies…

My family has a tight contract with longevity,

for better or for worse…

In 2007 I saw an Argentinian film about inter-sexuality called XXY…

This film amplifies the poverty of the English language,

to communicate about the difference and diversity,

that is the mandate of a perfect universe…

The first thing parents look for when a baby emerges,

from the womb,

is genitalia…

The first question is

Is it a boy or a girl???

I know,

because I’ve been there,

and done that…

But what if the answer to the question is,

unclear

What then???

What if the answer is uncertain,

and your child doesn’t know that s/he is a question,

without an easy answer…

Surgery can trim,

and cut away,

at what is on the outside of us…

Pharmaceuticals can mess with what goes on inside…

Culture does both…

EACH inside is a mystery…

A poem which has yet to be written,

in full…

And this reality begs for questioning into our ethical responsibilities,

and considerations,

as we assess and evaluate prospects,

for our Canucks family…

I worked with a little boy who spent all of Kindergarten,

drawing a world that I wanted to live in…

A world in which he saw me,

his teacher,

with big swirls of hair,

wearing fishnet stockings…

In Grade One he made dolls out of twist ties,

string,

and bits and pieces of fabric…

I gave him special permission to go into the top drawer of my teacher’s desk,

where I left secret supplies for doll making…

Each doll was different,

but she always had the same name,

which will remain anonymous,

so as to protect her identity,

and his…

He couldn’t do his schoolwork without holding a doll in his hand…

He dropped them on our walks through subdivisions,

as we searched for toadstools,

and magic…

Little dolls left behind like calling cards…

He told me,

at six years old,

with eyes older than grandfather time,

Making these dolls is the only way I can get all of the things that I see,

feel,

and know,

outside of my head…

She is a part of me,

but she’s also her own girl…

The resource teacher,

with her infinite skills and training,

wanted to know if he liked to play Barbies,

and wear dresses in the house center,

as part of her investigation and classification program…

If we get a diagnosis maybe we can help him…

Help him what???

He already was well on his way to knowing himself…

I had to hide in the paper cupboard,

and lick a shot glass clean,

after that School Based Team meeting,

banging my head against the same old wall…

Thinking about it right now,

gives me a splitting headache,

and a pain in the neck…

Whenever we went to Spokane,

my grandmother would talk to anybody…

even the homeless people…

Even the homeless guys who were talking to invisible people…

My grandmother would start talking to the invisible people too…

Well,

she said,

how can I be sure there aren’t invisible people in the world???

Scientists didn’t believe in the mountain gorilla for hundreds of years…

And now look…

So if scientists can be wrong,

then all of us can be wrong…

I mean,

what if all of those invisible people ARE scientists???

Think about that one…

— Arnold Spirit’s grandmother,

before she was killed by a drunk driver while walking home from a mini powwow…

Three years ago I was in a cranial sacral session…

The practitioner said,

Do you feel like when you’re learning something new,

all of the information goes into one side of your brain,

gets jammed up,

and you can’t get it over to the other side???

I just lay there under the her golden fleece,

rolling my eyes up into my head,

with intense recognition…

Well I’m going to help open up your blocked freeway,

by applying five grams of pressure…

Because now you’re ready for some more information,

and advanced integration

I’ve driven on the autobahn in Germany,

at high speeds,

many a time…

This requires overcoming a lot of fear,

and finding your buried confidence,

to keep your hands on the wheel,

and steady pressure on the gas pedal…

Trading in your old Golf,

for a Carrera,

is formula one…

Please stay a child somewhere in your heart...

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